Finis Africae – Amazonia (EM, February 2016)

EM has been gifting us some of the most luscious archival releases of the past two years, and the label’s output has shown up regularly in this column. If, like me, you’ve been keeping only half an ear on the Finis Africae reissues by the Japanese platform, maybe now is the time to really listen. Originally published on new age Spanish label Musica Sin Fin, Amazonia is one of those visionary, records that will emit an ever-lasting sparkle from the shelves of your collection. People are calling this stuff Balearic, and it sure is, but a Balearic that nudges, rolls and pushes the listener in the softest, haziest, most delicate manner.

Although it was released in 1990, Amazonia is a sort of proto-Balearic without gloss, imbued with textures of old-fashioned ambient that still sees the idea of grain as fundamental to musical discovery. Two tracks to represent the music best inlcude “Hombres Trueno”, a track which sounds like ships threateningly edging their way into a frozen port, and fresh opener “Suite Amazonica” where serene, tropical ambient never sounded so glamorously danceable. Juan Alberto Arteche Guel was a visionary and Amazonia is something to behold, or, we should say, a mirage that’s deliriously hot and perfect for February.